New Folger Shakespeare Library Head: "Woman Of Color" Who Wrote "Shakespeare Through Decolonization" And "The Great White Bard"
06/15/2024
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Here’s something that's said to need decolonizing: the works of Shakespeare.

Yeah, yeah, old news. Progressive schoolmarms and scolds all over the Western world have been grumbling for years about how shamefully white and male and… Western the Bard is.

It isn't some prune-faced provincial librarian in the news today doing it, though: it's Professor Farah Karim-Cooper. Who she?

Prof. Karim-Cooper is from Pakistan,  though raised in Texas. For affirmative action purposes, though visibly pretty white, she is a ”woman of color.”

She will, as of October 7th this year, be the new Director of the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C.—the most renowned place in the world for the study of Shakespeare and his works.

Quote from the Folger Library's announcement of Prof. Karim-Cooper's appointment:

She is a field leader in examining Shakespeare's plays through the lens of race and social justice.

She's the author of a book called The Great White Bard: How to Love Shakespeare While Talking About Race.

Quote from Prof. Karim-Cooper herself in an essay she published two years ago.

I note that the construction of Shakespeare as the ”Bard” was itself instrumentalized within the British colonial project, as a national poet and as an icon of white heritage and excellence: the conception of the man as Bard is, I argue, endemic to coloniality [Shakespeare Through Decolonization, English: Journal of the English Association, Winter 2021].

A question from me to the Board of Governors of the Folger Shakespeare Library: Why don't you just burn the place to the ground?

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